Maven Water and Environment: Next-Level Water Management and Treatment
After founding and successfully exiting her last environmental and biotechnology business, Monique Simair has recently started her new venture, Maven Water and Environment. There are some key differences for her company this time around: she is using big data approaches, creating a new testing facility, and implementing innovative approaches to hiring and maintaining staff.
“We look at the entire water management strategy for mines and oil sands and address any opportunities or challenges. We use a lot of emerging technologies, especially semi-passive treatment,” she shares. Semi-passive treatments remove metals and pollutants from water without the need of chemicals and electricity.
The growing team is applying big-data approaches to water treatment and modelling. “This hasn’t been done in the consulting and water treatment world for semi-passive and biological treatment. We can use technology to streamline complex calculations and equations and apply these to even larger datasets. Now we don’t have to focus on mundane tasks, we can focus on innovative ideas,” says Simair.
Maven is also using a unique approach to developing treatment strategies for mining and oil sands water. In the past, when a water treatment system was developed, much of the testing had to be done in off-site, specialized facilities. Maven is creating customized, modular testing systems that are delivered to the testing location.
If more in-depth types of testing are required, the team is also constructing a brand-new facility in Saskatoon to provide a wide range of environmental and stability testing. “The mobile modular testing systems allow us to test and optimize new treatment systems in real-time on the site and we’re pairing it with a brand new facility in Saskatoon. These types of facilities don’t exist anywhere else, so we’re building it. We can do what others can do but better,” she smiles. “It also enables more technology integration, which is great for our collaborations and partnerships”.
As Simair builds the company, she has ambitious plans to revolutionize the environmental consulting space. “Many of the brightest minds in our sector are getting burned out. We are building a consulting firm that is focused on people. Let’s treat our elite engineers and scientists the way that elite athletes are treated. If you want people to perform and give excellent advice and services, we need to be supporting them at that. You can’t give from an empty well.”
To follow up on this commitment, Maven is entirely employee-owned and has removed caps on sick days, bonuses, and education allowances. To make this possible, they developed an innovative internal peer-review system, enabling them to transition traditional ‘managers’ into mentors and provide ongoing relevant feedback. “We are aiming for brilliance, not people grinding through time. We don’t do billable hours, only value-based deliverables and retainers. This aligns us with our clients and our goals and allows us to pursue value creation, efficiency, and innovation.”
This approach has seen a great response from clients and the team is growing at a significant rate. As Maven opens satellite offices in Vancouver and Ontario, they plan to keep Saskatoon as a home base. “I can grow this company faster here than anywhere else.”
Founder: Monique Simair
Established: March 2019